Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called on Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa here on Monday and discussed issues including bilateral trade, investment and people to people contacts. According to the Pakistan Foreign Office, Qureshi also handed over a letter from President Arif Alvi to President Gotabaya and invited him to pay a visit to Islamabad at his earliest convenience. “FM calls on the President of Sri Lanka. Bilateral issues, trade, investment and people to people contacts discussed. FM handed over a letter from the President to President of Sri Lanka and invited him to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said in a tweet.
Earlier, Qureshi held talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena and apprised him about the “dire situation” in Kashmir. The two leaders also discussed issues including trade, investment, tourism and people to people contacts and vowed to deepen and strengthen the entire gamut of bilateral relations.
“FM also briefed his Sri Lankan counterpart on the dire situation and human rights crisis” in Jammu and Kashmir, Faisal said in another tweet. Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5.
Reacting to India’s move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner. Speaking to the media after the discussion, Qureshi termed his meeting with the Sri Lankan counterpart as “excellent” and extended an invitation to Gunawardena to visit Islamabad.
Qureshi arrived in Colombo on Sunday night on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka during which he will meet the country’s newly-elected leadership and convey to it a felicitation message of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Prime Minister Khan has also invited President Gotabaya to visit Islamabad at his “earliest convenience”.
Gotabaya arrived in New Delhi on Thursday on a three-day visit to India, his first overseas trip after taking over as Sri Lankan president this month. He stormed to victory in Sri Lanka’s presidential elections, the results of which were out on November 17.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan’s relationship is broad-based, covering diverse fields, including political, trade, commercial, defence and people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges.
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